Innovation Community Blog

Making innovation a career option

28 June 2010
Ask a New Zealand university student what they’re looking for at the end of their study and the answer could quite possibly be: “a good job with a big corporation”. At Stanford University in the USA, the thinking is completely different with many of their students focused on using their education to formulate or join a start-up business and get stock options!

At Viclink, we’re working to develop a similar kind of entrepreneurial attitude and culture at Victoria University by making the commercialisation scenario more visible and attractive to students and academics.

As Victoria University’s commercialisation company, Viclink provides students and academics with the skills and resources they need to turn their cutting-edge research into potentially global businesses that have social, environmental and economic benefit – not just for Victoria University, but for New Zealand as a whole.

Our creative and entrepreneurial approach to innovation leadership means that we choose to build a diverse pipeline of projects across all disciplines within Victoria University.

The result is a broad range of spin-off ideas, licensing deals, joint ventures and businesses: from clean-tech companies such as Wetox (which turns liquid waste into water,) and bio-tech businesses such as Pacific Marine Bioactives (which turns marine natural products into anti-cancer drugs) right through to the resilience-boosting efforts of Umbrella Health, a business idea which originated from the School of Psychology.

Admittedly, innovation as a career option is not for everyone – anyone wanting structured hours and a guaranteed salary should probably steer well clear. But we want Victoria University’s students to know that careers around commercial innovation are an option – and an attractive and viable option at that.

Which is why our partnership with the Bright Ideas Challenge is such a good fit. Viclink is offering additional prizes solely for entrants from Victoria University in a bid to encourage entrepreneurial thinking on campus.

This is not the first time that Viclink and Grow Wellington have worked together. Because the commercialisation process is a complex one, it requires a wide variety of skills, and we often collaborate with associated networks of expertise such as Creative HQ, Grow Wellington’s business incubator.

At the end of the day, turning great ideas into businesses will create wealth for the country and the sort of opportunities that will give our bright and ambitious young people rewarding careers here at home. And as the father of three students, I’m all for that!

John Errington is CEO of Viclink.
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